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Is A Special Election Too Costly?

By: Erin Pulsanti Email
By: Erin Pulsanti Email

Wood County and the rest of West Virginia may be getting used to holding special elections and October 4th is the date of the next special election, which will determine who will become the next governor. Wood County Clerk Jamie Six says no matter what the date, his office will be ready for voters.

"We will go through all of our regular procedure. Test all of our machines (depending on what type of calender they put out)," Six says. "So, whether it's one person on the ballot or ten people on the ballot, it's pretty much the same amount of work for us."

Once testing is done, voters will be ready to head to the polls. However, the question remains how many voters will show up to vote on a single issue ballot.

"If it becomes a very heated campaign and both parties have a very viable candidate than that will entice more people to come out and vote," continues Six. "Obviously, if it is one sided and there's not a whole lot of interest than that does effect turnout. It is a one issue ballot and as we saw in the special election for the primary for the US senate we only had like 12% turnout statewide."

Now, some are asking, can Wood County foot the bill for another election that has relatively low voter turnout?

"The last special election cost the state a little over three million dollars. They do reimburse the county for all the actual costs towards that," Six adds. "But there's some incidental costs that the cities and the counties absorb, as I mentioned, it (election day) does create a holiday, and it's holiday pay for your deputy sheriff, your city police, your firemen, 911, we don't get reimbursed for those types of costs."

Six says a special election on a Saturday can cost anywhere between three to four million dollars. If the election is held on a weekday the cost can jump to as much as 8 million dollars.


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